Welcome back! It’s been a while since the last update. Real life getting in the way. Thankfully I’ve managed put real life aside for a couple of hours, so let’s get to it…
How about we start in Belgium? Well Catalonia to be precise. Anderlecht, you will remember, had been handed a difficult Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.
The first leg didn’t go too well. Barca’s Spanish international Victor scored 4..
19 shots to 15, 56% to 44%. 5-0 was more than a little harsh.
The second leg was a formality, but again we outplayed our illustrious rivals
A 6-3 defeat over two legs in a tie which we should have won comfortably
In the league, we made more of a fight of it than usual
We were just 2 points behind with 5 games left. We went on to win our last 5 games. Surely that would be enough to lift the Belgian title for the first time?
Nope, Bruges are truly unstoppable. They ground out 1-0 wins against Standard and Antwerp in their final two games.
They didn’t do badly in Europe either. A 1-1 home draw against Milan followed by this
Jan Pieter Martens is a goal-scoring machine.
Milan have lost twice to Anderlecht and once to Bruges in Europe this season. They’re still doing OK domestically though
3 points at home to Bologna would be enough to secure lo scudetto ahead of Inter. Sure enough
Anelka cost Capello a lot of money, but he has a habit of coming up with the big goals
As for Genoa?
Yep we finished 6th from bottom. After two consecutive 5th from bottom finishes. Consistent improvement is what it’s all about. At this rate we’ll be challenging for the league in 2030.
We did sell a number of players during the season, so at least we’ve got money to spend
In the Premier League, Doncaster fell to their first defeat after 24 games
Again, I’m going to argue that this was an unlucky result. But over a course of the season, you’ll always get a game or two like this
It didn’t matter though. The only question was when we would win the league, not if.
Last year’s title was all but secured away to Crystal Palace. And sure enough, a win away at Palace this season would take us to 83 points and out of reach of Liverpool. Palace are always up near the top though so it couldn’t be taken for granted
Carmelo Groppi, a young attacking midfielder from Italy, grabbed the goal. It was all a bit of an anti-climax this year. A bit too easy.
After knocking us out, Barca had to contend with our fellow Belgians in the semi-finals of the Champions League
Bruges went one better than us. They only lost the first leg 4-0
Inter’s third successive final, and the second time they have faced Barca in the last 3 seasons
Make that Inter’s third successive win in a final
If Ronaldo doesn’t get you, Kanoute will. Inter have got the smallest squad I can remember for any big team – maybe that’s why they can do it in the Cups but come up short over a 34 game league season.
In the Cup Winners Cup there was a story brewing
Victor Ikpeba and Jason Euell always seem to score against me, and they’ve transferred that form to Europe.
Ikpeba and co did it again in the final with a first-half blitz
A very rare win for an English club in Europe. We (Doncaster) really need to up our game in the Champions League next season
You may remember Torino won the UEFA cup last year. They’re through to the semis again. This time drawn against cross-town rivals Juventus
A massive game and it goes all the way to penalties
A second final in a row for Toro, and it’s an all-Italian affair against Bologna. These two teams have been consistent top-6 clubs for a few years now, so it’s well deserved.
It’s a thriller at Celtic Park
Guess what – Bruges got to the final of the Belgian Cup too..but…
Standard are one of the best teams in the country, but any defeat counts as a shock for the Brugeois
United racked up another trophy
Seven seasons in, and Paul Scholes still scores goals
The FA Cup final has a familiar feel
Second place in the league and a runner-up medal in the Cup for Joe Kinnear and co.
Over in Italy, it was all about Ronaldo, Kanoute, Carlsen and co in the Coppa Italia final
Two trophies for Inter, two runners-up medals for Bologna
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Another OK season at Anderlecht. We did well in our first Champions League run-out, but Bruges beat us to the title and knocked us out of the Bekker van Belgie
A big season for Dmitri de Conde. He was given the captaincy at the start of the season and led from the front. Angelo Sala looks like he has got a bright future with us too.
Doncaster cruised to the title. We need to go a step further in Europe next year, now we have asserted our dominance in the league
Over in Genova, we got rid of some of the dead wood from the squad and hopefully we can use the money to buy some big name players in the summer
It’d also be nice if our best player is someone other than our goalkeeper next year. Maybe Cristof Eberl
I got my first taste of a local derby as England manager
The fans will have enjoyed that one. With no 2004 Euros to look forward to, and the 2006 World Cup being played in England, we’re not going to have any competitive matches for a while
The Euro 2004 groups didn’t throw up any surprises. Eight strong teams contested the quarter-finals. With Anelka & co sending the Dutch crashing out..
Italy (still managed by Sir Alex) are playing the tournament on their home turf and beat a strong Belgian team. Two Scandanavian teams through to the quarter-finals. Denmark in particular shouldn’t come as a surprise. They’ve got two-time World Player of the Year Morten Carlsen, and a number of other top-level players
The Italian peninsula came to a stand-still on June 26th as the home nation took on neighbours France in Milan.
Quarter-final man of the match Martin Djetou got a red card in the first half but the French held on- mostly thanks to some heroics from Christophe Revault.
So the home nation are out, and Alex Ferguson must surely be fearing for his job now. The other semi-final ended like this
Jesper Gronkjaer scored one minute after coming off the bench and made himself a national hero in the process. Could Denmark be set for their second European trophy in 12 years?
The answer was most definitely no. Nicolas Anelka cementing his reputation as the best striker on the continent with another goal. France win their first trophy for 20 years and join Spain and Germany as the only countries to have won the Euros more than once
Yep, that man Morten Carlsen again, the 5-0 defeat against France didn’t deter the voters. John Toshack and Luigi Simoni are rated as the best two managers. Both won two cup tournaments but came up short in the league.
Stuart Pearce making a name for himself in the Championship with Notts Forest.
In the meantime, there are some crazy post-Euros transfer shenanigans in Milan
And a couple of big name managers scrabbling around for jobs
And I’ll leave you with the passing of an England great
I’ll make sure I sign his regen next season…See you next time!